(ATR) Stockholm 2026 bid leaders insist that Sweden will deliver a transformative Olympic Winter Games, while creating a new Winter Games hosting model for the IOC.
Additionally, they proclaim that Stockholm-Are 2026 offers the IOC reliability and a bid that places major emphasis on sustainability and legacy.
In a rare show of transparency, international and local journalists were invited to attend nearly two hours of a forum between IOC Evaluation Commission members and Stockholm 2026 officials.
The gathering of sport leaders, politicians and athletes on a rainy Friday morning in Stockholm follows three days of venue tours, including an overnight trip to the ski resort of Are and a one-day visit to the Nordic skiing mecca of Falun, among other venues in and around the Swedish capital. Twelve presenters spoke on behalf of the Swedish bid.
Swedish IOC member Gunilla Lindberg opened the proceedings and stated: "Winter Sports are in our DNA."
Stockholm 2026 CEO Richard Brisius noted that the Swedish bid is sustainable, creative and fiscally responsible. He said that a potential Winter Olympics in Sweden will provide "something bold, something new and I can promise you, something fun.
"The future is bright, you have a country and team that can deliver what the Olympic Movement needs right now," Brisius said.
Swedish NOC president Mats Arjes discussed Sweden’s winter reliability and unwavering passion for winter sports, a country of frozen lakes and snowy mountains that has never hosted the Winter Games. There are more than 20,000 sports clubs in Sweden, more than any other nation.
Arjes says that the Games slogan will be "Made in Sweden" standing for quality and people you can trust. He said that the bid is feasible as a result of Olympic Agenda 2020 and the IOC’s New Norm.
The former chief of the Swedish Ski Association from 2008-2018 said that Sweden will deliver "on time, on budget, with no surprises."
He said that Stockholm 2026 will continue to showcase and integrate athlete ambassadors with the bid, one in particular that they are pursuing being New York Rangers goaltender and 2006 gold medalist Henrik Lundqvist.
"I firmly believe our perfect partner is Stockholm-Are 2026," Arjes concluded.
The Swedish Minister of Culture and Sport, Amanda Lind, and the Mayor of Stockholm Anna König Jerlmyr, also addressed the IOC commission.
Lind told reporters that the Swedish government is still working towards and will announce its decision regarding financial guarantees in due time. Sweden missed an original January 11 deadline.
"It is still seven years from now and for the Swedish government to give its support, there must be a consensus in both sport and politics," Lind said.
"We are processing our decision right now.
"Questions regarding security issues, that’s what we are investigating now and evaluating the material.
"[IOC guarantees] are a part of the decision we have to make and we are right now processing to be able to make a decision with the next weeks."
The Minister wouldn’t indicate which direction the government is leaning towards or a more specific timetable.
The Swedish Mayor Anna König Jerlmyr delivered an enthusiastic speech with a personal flair. She said her six-year-old boy was off to hockey practice this morning, toting an equipment bag taller than him.
Jerlmyr said she was inspired by Swedish alpine skier Pernilla Wiberg, who won gold medals in Albertville ’92 and Lillehammer ’94.
"Winter sport is part of the Swedish soul and in our hearts," the Stockholm mayor said. "We enjoy being outdoors all year long."
She noted that Sweden, and the world, has been inspired by sporting legends like Bjorn Borg, Ingemar Stenmark and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
"Sweden is a great place because it is innovative, welcoming and inclusive," she continued.
"We are truly a diverse, open nation. Second to Germany, Sweden has received the most refugees.
"By 2022, we (Stockholm) will reach one million inhabitants, one of the fastest growing cities in the E.U."
Swedish hockey player Kim Martin Hasson, alpine skier Jessica Lindell-Vikarby and Paralympic hockey player Maximillian Gyllensten spoke on behalf of the Scandinavian country’s athletes, all delivering informative, convincing presentations sharing their own Olympic experiences.
Stockholm 2026 leaders have made it clear that taxpayers will not be burdened with the costs of hosting the Games, a model similar to Los Angeles 2028, as everything other than national security will be privately financed.
The IOC will provide the winning bid, whether it be Stockholm-Are or the joint Italian bid of Milan-Cortina, with $925 million to start.
The five-day IOC Evaluation Commission visit to Sweden concludes on Saturday with continued dialogue between the IOC team of winter sports experts and Stockholm 2026 representatives, followed by a news conference for the media.
Written and reported by Brian Pinelli in Stockholm
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